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19 October 2018

Gold Rush!

The mountains of Las Médulas are a witness of Roman mining activities paired with exceptional natural conditions. 

Get a camera ready for our photo contest and dig in Europe’s largest and oldest open-air mine: the Natura 2000 site of Las Médulas, in Spain.

For over 200 years, the Romans were keen to get the most out of the mountains of Las Médulas. Gold-wise, that is. Located in the province of León, in Northern Spain, Las Médulas proved to be the Romans’ needed cornucopia to fund their army. Thus, over 800 tons of gold were extracted out of these mountains during those two centuries by setting up a complex system of canals and shafts which they referred to as ‘ruina montium’ (“the wrecking of mountains”).

Las Médulas is located in the Province of Léon. (Photo Credit: European Commission) 

What remains of this long-running process is a spectacular and unique landscape of flamboyant red rock formations — carved out from years of mining activity — covered with chestnut and holm oak trees and Mediterranean pine forests. Moreover, several endemic species of amphibians, reptiles and fish are to be found in this Natura 2000 site, which is also a declared World Heritage Site by UNESCO and could serve as the perfect spot to take an extraordinary picture and participate in the “Go Wild! Stay Cultured” Photo Contest!

So, go and visit this eccentric, wonderful mark of Roman cultural heritage merged with nature, take one of the many routes running through this exceptional scenery — either by foot, bicycle or even on a horseback! — and marvel yourself. And, why not, marvel us and others, too, with your photographs of this (or any other) Natura 2000 site by participating in the “Go Wild! Stay Cultured” Photo Contest.

The deadline to submit your photographs is 18 November 2018.